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Revenge of the Sith: AngryVader's Log

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

I’ve been lifting seriously for a while now. I’ve actually been lifting for most of my life, but I wasn’t serious about it when I was younger. As a kid I mainly just did lots of wrist curls because I was a drummer and baseball player.

While I’ve always been a fan of bodybuilding, I just didn’t really get into it until I was older. I did work out, but I didn’t know what I was doing.

Hell, I wasted a good year doing ridiculous crap like Power Factor Training and Static Contraction Training. Those were some bullshit routines. I did Heavy Duty for a while even.

Actually, it wasn’t until after I had a hernia when I was 24 that I got serious about training. The hernia was non weight training related (I used to have a job that involved a lot of box lifting and was a golfer at the time), but while I was recovering, I really started to read up and get back to basics.

Things had been moving along well with my training since then. I had put on about 30-40 pounds of muscle over a few years. Finally hit the 200 lb mark about 4 years ago and was as high as 210.

However, 2 years ago, I had a pretty bad back injury that set back my training for a while. Eventually, I healed and was getting back to where I was pre injury.

Just before Memorial Day, I tweaked my back again. Again, it wasn’t even in the gym. Simply just getting out of bed in the morning and my back just kind of went out.

It hurt pretty bad and I thought something was seriously wrong. Oddly, just 24 hours later, most of the pain in my back had gone away. I went to the doctor anyway and it appeared to check out fine. Just some muscle spasms.

About a week later, I notice some pretty significant pain in my left glute. I foam rolled the area, which seemed to help. I started to see a physical therapist, who said it was an issue with my pririformis.

I was doing what I could to train around it, and in some cases through it. It was slowly getting better over the next month or so and everything seemed fine. In retrospect, I was being pretty stupid here. I was still doing two lower body sessions a week, doing sprints twice a week and not really doing much foam rolling and stretching of the glute. Stupid right?

Towards the end of July, I noticed the pain was returning and actually worsening. By the beginning of August the pain had increased to the point where it was difficult to sit without pain.

A week later, it hurt so bad, I could barely walk. I lost a significant amount of feeling in my left foot. I was pretty scared. Again, my PT seemed to think it was an issue with the piriformis and some adhesion involving the sciatic nerve.

After a week or so, the pain lessened some and I was able to resume stretching and foam rolling. I’ve gotten to be pretty aggressive about foam rolling once I noticed significant improvement from it. Eventually, I added some mobility work and everything has been progressing along fine.

This week, I finally felt well enough to resume going to the gym. I was able to get though all my workouts so far without issue or any kind of flare up.

The only thing that sucks is that I’ve lost A LOT of strength in my lower body. I had been training my upper body for a week or two, so my upper body isn’t as far behind as my lower body, but it still has a lot of catching up to do as well.

My current goal, is to simply get back into shape. I’ve lost a lot of leg size and strength from all the inactivity. This is going to be a slow process though as I need to monitor my glute closely and make sure I don’t aggravate the issue again. I likely won’t resume anything like sprinting for at least a month or so.

I do need to lose some fat as I didn’t really change my diet much even though I was inactive for a while. Although I’m not really concerned about my weight at this point, as I’m sure cleaning up my diet and getting myself back into shape will lead to a change in body comp.

Long term, I’d like to surpass my old PRs and continue to improve on them and put on more muscle.

Anyway, sorry about the long ass life story. I basically started this log to chronicle my return to the gym and my progress. Feel free to comment, provide suggestions, ask me what the hell I’m doing, make fun of me, call me a pussy or whatever. This should be fun!

Current Stats

Age: 35
Height: 5’ 9"
Weight: 194
Bodyfat: Who the fuck knows?
Measurements: I haven’t had time to take full measurements. I’ll do that on Sunday. I know my waist is 35" at the moment.

I really won’t be keeping track of my diet here. I may note total calories from time to time when I think it’s relevant, but otherwise I won’t get into that much. I do use a program called Crosstrainer to log my food though.

It has a plugin for my Palm, so it’s pretty convenient way for me to track my calories through the day. I do typically eat the same thing every day, so I’m not usually in doubt about how much I’m eating.

The supps I’m currently taking are ZMA, Flameout, Rez-V, Superfood, Surge, Grow! Whey and LCMD. I’m a Biotest whore. I won’t even deny it.

I will add other supplements once I get back into shape and once I’m sure the glute is no longer an issue. I also have some 11-T on ice that I’ll bring into the mix down the line, but we’re a few months away from that.

My current split is as follows:

Monday: Quads/calves
Tuesday: Chest/tris
Wed: Off
Thursday: Hams/calves
Friday: Back/bis
Saturday: Shoulders/calves and wild card. I like to throw in some extra stuff here to keep things interesting and fun.
Sunday: Off

I do a an ab exercise on my Monday, Thursday and Saturday workouts, but I don’t dedicate a day to abs.

Just about every morning I start with a few minutes of light recumbent biking otherwise my glute feels weird. Then I do some mobility work, foam rolling and then stretching. I do a second session of foam rolling when I get home from work to work on my glute more. Since I have a desk job, this really helps. Hopefully when the pain completely goes away, I can back off on this a bit.

[quote]AngryVader wrote: Long term, I’d like to surpass my old PRs and continue to improve on them and put on more muscle.
[/quote]

Do you mind sharing those PRs you’re aiming at?

[quote]pch2 wrote:
AngryVader wrote: Long term, I’d like to surpass my old PRs and continue to improve on them and put on more muscle.

Do you mind sharing those PRs you’re aiming at?[/quote]

I don’t max out, but here are some of the older lifts I’m trying to get back to:

Front Squat 275 for 8x3
RDL 365 for 8x3
Barbell Rows 315 also for 8x3
Incline Press 255 for 5x5
Chins BW + 90 for 8x3

You’ll see in my subsequent workout entries, that I’m way short of all of those due to the inconsistency and injuries.

[quote]AngryVader wrote:
pch2 wrote:
I don’t max out, but here are some of the older lifts I’m trying to get back to:

Front Squat 275 for 8x3
RDL 365 for 8x3
Barbell Rows 315 also for 8x3
Incline Press 255 for 5x5
Chins BW + 90 for 8x3

You’ll see in my subsequent workout entries, that I’m way short of all of those due to the inconsistency and injuries.[/quote]

How long ago did you hit those?

[quote]pch2 wrote:
AngryVader wrote:
pch2 wrote:
I don’t max out, but here are some of the older lifts I’m trying to get back to:

Front Squat 275 for 8x3
RDL 365 for 8x3
Barbell Rows 315 also for 8x3
Incline Press 255 for 5x5
Chins BW + 90 for 8x3

You’ll see in my subsequent workout entries, that I’m way short of all of those due to the inconsistency and injuries.

How long ago did you hit those?[/quote]

Just before the first back injury, so a little more than 2 years ago. I was getting close to them again, but then the current issues with the piriformis started.

Okay, off to the gym now.

Today’s workout: Back and Biceps

Felt kind of rushed today because I took a later than usual lunch and needed to get back to work.

Chins: BW+75 for 8x3 - Didn’t feel too bad, will try 80 next week.

BB Row: 245 x 5,5,5, 250 x 5,5 - 250 felt about right. Will use 250-255 next time

Straight-arm cable pullover: 80 x 8, 90 x 8,8

Supersetted with

Free motion row: 100 x 8, 110 x6, 100 x6 - Didn’t like these that much. I wanted to a seated row movement but all the good ones were in use and I didn’t have time to wait.

DB curls: 45 x 6/5/4, 6/3/2, 6/3/2 - I did these using option #3 from Thibs article on mechanical drop sets.

Reverse curls (21’s): 65 x 7/7/3, 45 x 7/7/7, 7/7/7 - 65 was too heavy, 45 was too light.

This morning, I woke up and did some trigger point stuff for my glute and some mobility work.

Just got back from the gym. Did shoulders and a little bit for calves and abs.

Leverage shoulder press machine: 105 x 5, 110 x 5,5,5 115 x 5 - I can’t remember if this machine is made by Flex or Cybex but I really like it. It’s a plate loaded machine.

Seated side laterals: 45 x 8,8,8,8 - Did feel too hard, will use more weight next time.

Supersetted with

Side upright rows: 45 x 8,8,8,8 - I like these a lot. Kind of a like a Haney shrug, but with dumbbells.

Rear delt machine - 115 x 8, 120 x 8,7,7 - I’ll stick with 120 next time.

Laterals on a slant board - 20 x 9,7,7 - I haven’t done these in a while. I like them as a finisher.

Rope crunch - 70 x 6, 80 x 6,6

Carl’s Calf Raise - 120 x 7,8,8 - These are from the Small Calf Solution article from a few weeks ago. Hurt like a bitch. Calf stuff is really humbling for me right now. I still don’t have full feeling in my left foot, so it’s difficult for me to feel and push with my left calf.

Not much to do the rest of the day. I’ll probably do a little more trigger point stuff a little later.

Other than that I’m going to BBQ some steak and sausages and watch a few movies.

EDIT: Random note. I’m pretty sure I was a total fucking pussy today. The gym was pretty empty, save for this pretty cute girl I’ve never seen before. We kept making eye contact throughout our workouts, but I didn’t do anything about it.

Sunday: Off day

My glute felt a little weird this morning, but I did some foam rolling, mobility work and stretching while watching football (49ers suck still) and that seemed to help. I’m going to do another 20-30 minute session later this evening.

Tomorrow morning I have another physical therapy session. I don’t think he’ll have anything new to tell me and I think this may end up being our last session.

Took some measurements. All measurements are unflexed, unpumped and around the widest part.

Height 5’9" - Still! Man, I thought all that hanging from the swingset would have paid off by now.
Weight 190 - I dropped a few pounds this week. I’m sure it’s mainly water loss from the step up in activity this week.
Arms 15"
Chest 44"
Waist 35"
Hips 39.5"
Thighs 24"
Calf 15.5"

Went to Physical Therapy this morning. He said everything is progressing fine. He advised me to get back in the gym, as he thinks at this point I need to get the muscle strong again, so I guess it’s a good thing I’m doing that now. :slight_smile:

Outside of a new flare up or me doing something stupid, he expected that the glute should just continue to get better over time.

Other than that, he recommended I just keep stretching and foam rolling the trigger points.

Will hit up quads/calves in a few hours.

What’s the trigger point stuff your doing?

Also, how helpful was your PT? Have you shared your strength goals with him?

[quote]pch2 wrote:
What’s the trigger point stuff your doing?

Also, how helpful was your PT? Have you shared your strength goals with him? [/quote]

Other than just a standard foam roller, I recently purchased a set of trigger point tools from a company called Trigger Point Technologies. You can find their stuff here:

I have set #4. I actually bought it off of EliteFTS though.

So what I try to do a few times a day is a general foam rolling session for the legs and then once I finish that, I’ll use the trigger point tools to really dig into the tender spots. I use the TP Quadballer to really hit the calves and then the TP Massage Ball to really get into the tender spots in the glute and piriformis. It usually hurts like hell, but I feel great after.

The PT has been helpful as far as identifying the issue, but a lot of our sessions didn’t really even involve any kind of massage or stretching because the pain was too severe initially. The first few sessions were just for identifying the issue. As the pain loosened, he recommended more stretches and foam rolling, etc. Although today he gave me a nice calf massage that loosened that up. :slight_smile:

I have shared my goals with him, and he recommended that I get back in the gym and try to get back to where I was. The pain is very manageable at this point and actually goes away for the most part once I’m warmed up. Because it seems to go away after warming up, he recommended that increase my activity level and try to get my strength back up as that should help.

The main issue I’m going to have now is training calves and doing sprints are going to be difficult until all the feeling comes back in my left foot. It’s really difficult to push off with a lot of force at the moment. There’s not much the PT can do about that though, he said that it’s just going to be one of those things that will slowly get better over time (and it is).

I’m hoping I can resume some kind of sprinting in a month or so.

Today’s workout: Quads and calves

Front Squat: 155 x 3,3 165 x 3,3,3,3,3,3 - These felt a little ‘off’. Not painful in any way, but I just have no groove at the moment. I may switch to back squats or use the same weight for a while until I start to groove them again.

Leg Press: 230 x 2:00 minutes: 43 reps, 230 x 2:00 minutes: 46 reps. - I’m doing timed sets with these. I just go for 2:00 minutes and try to do as many reps as I can, taking small rests as I fatigue. I usually shoot for between 40-50 reps. I do the first set with a wider stance and the last set with very narrow stance. These burn!

Reverse lunge off step: 45 x 6, 55 x 6, 65 x 6 - My right knee felt a little weird after the last set. I think I’m favoring my right side in bilateral exercises. I’ll need to correct this in future workouts.

I supersetted these with…

Ab rollouts using a ball: 10,8,10 reps - These are pretty easy, I either need to switch to a smaller ball or use an actual ab wheel.

Sissy squat - BW x 6,6,6 - This are pretty freakin hard for me at the moment. I might switch to high rep leg extensions until I get my strength back. I don’t have much depth on these at all.

Calf raises in the smith machine - 95 x 16,13,12,12 - I’m still pretty weak with these, but this is a definite improvement over last week. I’m following the small calf solution template for calves right now, but I really don’t expect to get much out of this now. High reps do feel pretty good though. I followed it up with a 90 second stretch on the leg press.

Overall, a better workout than last week. Used more weight on all exercises, so that’s progress. Just need to groove the front squats a little better (or switch to back squats). I’ll experiment with that on one of my off days.

Competition, eh? If I start drinking again, you’ll win. But if I’m dedicated, watch out.

[quote]WolBarret wrote:
Competition, eh? If I start drinking again, you’ll win. But if I’m dedicated, watch out.[/quote]

I don’t know there, Mr. Glass. I’m not sure you can handle it.

I didn’t have time to do any PT stuff this morning, as I needed to go to Target before work (to pick up Iron Man among other things). I’m going to do a few short sessions throughout the day.

I feel pretty good otherwise. Quads are good and sore and my glute hasn’t acted up from doing legs yesterday.

I did notice a little more feeling in my foot this morning. I’m wondering if it’s because I did calves yesterday. I’m going to experiment with adding a few high rep sets for my calves today and tomorrow and see if that does anything.

Tuesday 9/30: Chest and Tris

Incline BB Press: 210 x 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,4

Decline Hammer Press: 320 x 5, 330 x 5,5,5,6

Dumbbell Flyes: 50 x 8, 55 x 8,8,8

Decline EZ Tricep Ext: 100 x 8, 105 x 6,6,6

Overhead Rope Ext/Regular Rope Ext: 65 x 6/6,6/4,6/5 - Basically I’m doing a overhead tricep extension with a rope and then without rest, repping out with regular rope tricep extensions.

Today’s workout was good, but nothing particularly noteworthy about it. Chest and tris are the two bodyparts that I expect to catch back up the quickest from the layoff.

So then did the PT recommend the trigger point stuff? If not, what was his opinion on you doing it.

Also, what was your soft tissue work like before you started hurting?

[quote]pch2 wrote:
So then did the PT recommend the trigger point stuff? If not, what was his opinion on you doing it.

Also, what was your soft tissue work like before you started hurting?[/quote]

He didn’t suggest it. I started doing it myself based on a recent article here where they had mentioned doing it to break up adhesions and scar tissue. Since that’s what my PT said my issue was, I figured it made sense to do it. It only took a single session to realize it helped and that I should continue doing it.

Initially I was just doing ‘generic’ foam rolling of my lower body. Then, I noticed that doing a little more targeted stuff with a tennis ball on the piriformis helped out even more. The tennis ball quickly became too easy though. I tried using a softball for a little while, but it was too much to the point of being painful. That’s what led me to the TP tools mentioned in my earlier post. The new tools have been great.

I’m not sure why the PT didn’t prescribe this himself, but he advised me to continue with it. He said it was a good idea, especially since I had noticed an improvement since I started doing it. He’d only really given me stretches to do. Since I had been doing those stretches even before the injury, I sensed that I would need more than just stretching to make the problem go away. I used to perform yoga for about 20-30 minutes a day when I’d wake up (but I’d avoid poses that weren’t beneficial and have been advised against here), so my flexibility wasn’t really an issue.

I will admit that prior to the injury, I really never did any kind of soft tissue work. Just stretching and yoga. Lesson learned there.

I’m pretty sure that this injury was just the accumulation of years of never doing any soft tissue work.

EDIT: Hey, my 3000th post! I’m not going to start a thread about it like WolBarret did though. I’m not an attention whore like he is. :slight_smile: